Me: 'So is there anything green you do eat?'
Benj: (pause) 'Fruit pastilles...'
We've had the yearly summer visit from Tom's daughter and family, so that's kept us busy, and now I feel like the poor man in the story, who went to the rabbi complaining that his house was unbearably small and crowded and dirty, so the rabbi told him to bring the chickens then the goat then the cow into the house as well, then finally to put them all out again, so the man couldn't believe how much space and luxury he had. And I am finally getting down into the foothills of Mount Laundry.
It was mostly hot; we went to the beach and hugged the shade of the cliffs, got bitten by nasty little sand bugs, but I had a good swim and the others played ball a bit in and out of the water, and we ate peaches, cherries and strawberries from the market. I forgot to take any photos.
The children pass through phases of childhood charm and originality through adolescent strop and obsession (Ice Road Truckers is just about more tolerable to hear about than fantasy football teams I suppose, in moderation, which it isn't...) and, in the older one's case at least, show signs of emerging back into charm and originality again. I don't fuss about the food in fact; they're only here for a short time, I know what they like and provide it, they eat well, are appreciative and in many ways have quite sophisticated tastes. Emily can still eat moules frîtes at astonishing speed and in astonishing quantities as often as you can put them in front of her.
She looked with interest at the double-self-striped Mille Colori scarf I was knitting. Beautiful, she said, quite genuinely, then, tentatively, 'I'd like a Hufflepuff scarf, but they're terribly expensive...'
We had a look on-line at patterns and photos, and I said no promises but I'd see what I could do. Her sixteenth birthday's next month, so I reckon I can probably get one done by then; it'll be a good opportunity to learn how to do magic loop without worrying about shaping, and things with stripes always grow faster. I've sought out a yellow that should be fairly soft and gold-ish rather than anything too acid or strident, and it will suit her, with her dark eyes and hair, coloured rather chocolaty as a gift from the hairdresser where she just did some work experience. She says she isn't quite sure she wants to be sixteen yet, she doesn't feel so grown up, so one can understand her hankering for something a bit childish and cosy but also trendy like a big stripy Harry Potter scarf. I'm well-disposed towards Harry Potter, and as a craze for kids it strikes me as very benign, as well as enduring. We were then curious to know how she knew she was a Hufflepuff, which prompted us to sign in to the official website and to find out what we were. K, Tom's daughter, who hadn't done it, said she imagined the questionnaire would be rather like magazine ones, with very obvious leading questions so that you could easily reckon on getting the result you wanted, but in fact these seemed surprisingly opaque, and we didn't get the same ones. Tom's a Ravenclaw, and I'm another Hufflepuff, both of which I'd predicted and we're quite happy with.
As I say I haven't been taking many photos since they came, but on the theme of knitting and connections, here are some dewy webs I took a couple of weeks ago.